In the consulting profession, you’re always learning and there are a whole host of skills that contribute towards your success. However, there’s also a base set of skills that you require no matter your field or specialism, so let’s take a look at the essential consulting skills that your clients want to see from you.
#1 – Communication
Communication skills are the keystone of successful consulting.
Your clients expect you to be a strong communicator who listens carefully, asks the right questions, can convey ideas clearly and displays positive body language.
If your communication skills are not up to par then your clients will quickly lose trust in you. Consultants rely on good relationships built upon mutual respect so make sure that all of your interactions are pleasant and professional.
If you’re working with a team, then it is essential that everyone understands the basics of what needs to come next; if they don’t understand their role or what is expected of them, then the entire project can come to a grinding halt.
It is worth noting here that communication skills do not just extend to what you say. Body language, tone of voice and eye contact are all essential parts of successful communication.
Remember that listening is an important part of communication, too. As a consultant it’s your job to gain insight into your clients’ needs, understand their problems and ask the right questions.
#2 – Observation
Understanding your client’s world and the problems they face gives you deeper insight into their challenges, which helps you to come up with better-informed ideas about how they can improve performance or reduce costs.
It’s important to take detailed notes and try to see the bigger picture. Business owners are often too close to be objective, whereas you are able to offer an impartial outside perspective.
#3 – Problem-Solving
Your clients expect you to have a problem solving mindset. After all, they come to you to solve their problems and guide them towards the best decisions for their business.
When dealing with complicated issues, your clients expect you to provide clear solutions and highlight possible options that can lead to successful outcomes. They need someone who is dedicated enough to find the optimal solution and solve the problem for good, rather than offering a quick fix.
Consulting case studies can help you to demonstrate your problem-solving ability to prospective clients and spark meaningful conversations about how you can help them.
#4 – Organisation
Organisation is key to success in any profession, but it’s especially important in consulting because there are so many moving parts at play. Consultants need to juggle multiple projects at once while juggling deadlines and client expectations.
As a consultant, your clients will expect ultimate professionalism from you . This includes being on time to every meeting, dressing appropriately and arriving prepared. It’s very difficult to achieve this without being organised. Your clients are putting a lot of faith in you, and demonstrating your organisational skills is a good way to build credibility and trust.
#5 – Objectivity
Objectivity is the foundation of good consulting. Consultants need to work hard at developing an objective perspective on their clients’ problems before they make any recommendations or give advice.
Objectivity is the ability to separate oneself from the conclusion of a discussion without taking sides. As consultants begin thinking about their own perspectives on an issue, they need to remain open-minded and objective in order not take over discussions with preconceived ideas or conclusions that are influenced by personal bias.
#6 – Mediation
Often, consultants are required to act as mediators and thus this is an important skill to develop.
Mediation is an important skill for consultants to develop. Often consultants are brought into a conflict situation and need to help the parties negotiate an agreement so they can work together again as soon as possible.
Mediation is different from counselling or coaching, which focus on helping people reach their own decisions about what changes to make in order for them to improve things for themselves.
In mediation it’s not your job to decide how someone should change or behave differently. Mediators are not judges, but they help the parties reach an agreement that works best for them.
The above six skills are invaluable for consultants and business advisors and are applicable to any niche. Niching is critical to enable you to stand out and create a high-ticket offer for your ideal client, but it’s important to have these broad skills in place so that you can convey professionalism to your prospects and deliver incredible transformations.